My Three Year Indy Adventure

Hello Dear Readers,

It's been three years this month since I published my debut novel, HEAVEN is for HEROES. It's hard to believe! In honor of that milestone, I'll be giving away an audiobook to one commenter below. Contest ends at midnight on September 30th, so be sure to enter and share this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.HIFH_audiobookcover (2013_06_07 00_53_00 UTC)

With six novels and a short story to my credit over the three years, I have to say, the journey has been filled with many wonderful moments. I can't tell you how much I appreciate each and every review, all of the positive comments and emails from readers, and the willingness of both my reading and writing community to help spread the word about my books. You have all been an incredible blessing to me!

To recap some of my successes, ON THIN ICE is a favorite in the UK, SAVAGE CINDERELLA has 2.5 MILLION reads on Wattpad, and I wrote and recorded a theme song for PIECES of LOVE that is available on i-Tunes...how cool is that? WANING MOON and WESTERN DESERT are the first two books in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy with the third book, HEALING WATERS expected to release in December of this year (stay tuned for the cover reveal next month). All but one of my books have won awards (I haven't had time to enter POL into any contests yet), and my average customer reviews are 4.5 stars across the board!

Whew! I'm tired just thinking about how far I've come. But as with any journey, it hasn't been all sunshine and roses, LOL.

Writing is a tough job for which there is very little financial return (as yet), and the publishing industry is an extremely complex and ever-changing business. There's so much to learn and so much to know to be successful at this career! I know...it's not like I'm out digging ditches or building space suits, but forcing myself to sit down every day and get words on the page with hope that it will eventually turn into some cohesive, interesting, and entertaining work of fiction is no easy task, let me tell you. Professional writers have to write--even when they don't want to. Even when the words aren't flowing, and even when every word that comes out of our fingers is crap. And believe me...a lot of it is exactly that.

Writing is all about re-writing; so the saying goes. I can attest to this. I consider myself a reformed "first draft addict". I used to love writing the first draft. But that was before I learned to revise and edit my work. And before there were pressures of deadlines and self-promotion. It was fun creating new worlds, getting to know my characters, and telling their story from beginning to happy ending. Until I realized all of the things I was doing wrong and all of the work involved in actually selling books once I published them. When I began learning the craft, it became clear to me that I could always improve on the story in some way and that revision could be a satisfying, albeit daunting, process. I also learned that it was where the story really came to life. Unfortunately, there comes a time when you have to decide enough is enough and actually get the book out there. The real challenge is in understanding that writing and publishing are two very different hats that use completely different parts of the brain. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that balancing the two is enough to make a grown woman scream like a baby!Roar!

You would think I would be getting the hang of it after six books (ten if you include the first four novels I wrote that sit languishing on my hard drive waiting for those lovely revisions), but it really doesn't get any easier. I still struggle through my "sagging middle" of every story, freak out about all the details required to pull story threads together as the book progresses toward its conclusion, and there is just no easy way to make sure that there is proper balance between dialogue, narrative and description. You just have to develop an intuitive sense about all of it. Hopefully, my writing is improving over time and with practice, it will eventually get easier, but I accept that there will always be challenges to overcome. Not the least of which is learning to negotiate the turbulent waters of an industry in flux. But that's a whole other story!

At three years into this journey, I still consider myself a newbie. People think that since I'm a multi-published author that I am hugely successful financially. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most authors don't make much money. Yes, you have the Stephanie Meyers and JK Rowlings of the world who hit it just right and shoot to stardom, but the book market is extremely saturated and competition is fierce. As an Indie publisher, I don't get advances on my work and I have to pay all the upfront costs of cover art, editing, formatting and such. Return on my investment is slow going at best. I try to be patient with myself and my process, and keep my head on straight about what's important, but even that eludes me some days. The bottom line is that if I'm in this for the long haul, that little voice that pops up now and then telling me to quit now while I still have a shred of sanity, must be kicked to the curb and shoved into traffic as often as necessary.

In the meantime, I'll keep doing what I do. I hope you'll be patient with me when I stumble, don't get a book out as quickly as you'd like, or veer off the path on occasion to actually live my life. I will make mistakes because I'm only human after all, and still learning every day, but I will promise you this. I will keep writing and will do my best to offer quality fiction for your enjoyment.

If you'd like to join me on this crazy journey and follow along, you can catch me on Facebook, Twitter, or any number of social media locales (links in sidebar), or you can sign up for my newsletter for word on new releases. I have a very busy fall schedule with completing HEALING WATERS in time for a December release and if all goes as planned, will also have a novella and boxed set coming out around Christmas! Stay tuned for more details on that.

Personal appearances include:

September 30, 2014:

Westfield Ma. Chamber of Commerce Annual Fall Tabletop Showcase

4:30-7:30 p.m. Castle of Nights, 1599 Memorial Drive, Chicopee, MA.

October 11-13, 2014

Granville Harvest Fair

Sat. 10-5, Sun. 12-5, Mon. 10-5 Granville Center, Granville, MA

I hope to see you there!

Don't forget to leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing for the HEAVEN is for HEROES audiobook.

Peace and blessings,

PJ

2 Comments:

  1. Congratulations on your milestone, PJ. This business is certainly not for the faint of heart. It takes not only lots of commitment, but a ton of courage to pursue your writing dreams, particularly if you go the indie route. I’m officially sharing a piece of your victory cake! (icing on my fingers)

    • Great to see you here, Gerri! Grab a napkin and pour yourself a cup of tea…or a glass of wine. Cake and wine go together, don’t they?

I love hearing from readers!